05 Mar Liverpool v Porto – talking points
Liverpool head into their Champions League second leg at home to Porto with a virtually unassailable 5-0 lead.
With a place in the quarter-finals virtually guaranteed, Press Association Sport looks at some of the issues surrounding the match.
To change or not to change
Despite his propensity to make minor alterations to his starting line-up virtually every game, manager Jurgen Klopp is not keen on making wholesale changes or fielding weakened sides. Leading scorers Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino may get a well-earned rest and Klopp may decide to include a few players who have not had as many minutes as most recently, such as the likes of Dominic Solanke, Danny Ings, Adam Lallana, Alberto Moreno, Joe Gomez and Ben Woodburn.
Chance to impress
While this game is for a place in the quarter-finals, Liverpool have a huge match at the weekend when they go to Manchester United, long-term arch-rivals and currently their main opponents to be best-of-the-rest behind Manchester City in the Premier League. A good performance against Porto could be a deciding factor in whether a player starts at Old Trafford or even just makes the squad. Klopp will certainly be watching for those players who think they can coast through this fixture to save themselves for Saturday.
Any chance of an upset?
In a word, no. No side has ever recovered from a 5-0 home defeat to progress from the second leg in 29 occasions of the competition’s history. The best comeback remains Barcelona’s last season from 4-0 down to Paris St Germain, winning 6-1 at the Nou Camp to make the quarter-finals. Liverpool have only ever conceded five times once in Europe – when they lost 5-1 at Ajax in the European Cup in December 1966. Goalkeeper Loris Karius has kept nine clean sheets in 18 appearances this season and has conceded just six goals – three of which came in a mad 45 minutes in Seville – in the current Champions League, the best record in the competition. Porto have never beaten Liverpool in five competitive meetings and have not won in 17 visits to England, losing 15 times. So no.